For Education Partners


General CE Sponsors

General Continuing Education (CE) Sponsors submit a program application to CFP Board to verify that the content meets CFP Board's standards.

Organizations must first register with CFP Board as a General CE Sponsor using the online application link below. Sponsors must renew their registration at the end of each calendar year in order to remain active.

The complete requirements for General CE Sponsor registration are detailed within CFP Board's Continuing Education Sponsor Registration Agreement  and Continuing Education Fee Schedule (PDF, 53KB).

Register Online


General Program Requirements

All CE Programs must address one or more topics listed in CFP Board's Principal Topics.

CE Sponsor programs must meet the following requirements: 

  • Programs must have at least one learning objective. A learning objective must be a specific, measurable statement of what participants will learn in the program. Learning objectives must be realistic when considering the level of complexity and scope of the course.
  • Program content must be current, correct, and presented in an appropriate design and format.
  • Program titles accurately represent the course content and purpose and do not include trademarked names or titles of other designations, licenses or certifications.
  • Programs must be presented in an initial unit of at least one hour (minimum of 50 minutes constituting one class hour), with half-hour increments accepted after the initial one hour has been satisfied. Total hours will be rounded down to the last full half hour.

A video guide covering General CE Program requirements and definitions can be found in CFP Board's Resources for CE Sponsors.

Instructor / Author Qualification

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) must be involved in the authorship and review of a course. An SME must demonstrate significant practical experience or higher education (an academic degree, industry credentialing, or at least 5 years of experience in the relevant field).

Level of Complexity

All general CE programs must identify their level of complexity, a descriptor that demonstrates the knowledge level of a program. This information will help CFP® professionals determine if a program is appropriate for their professional development goals. CFP Board recognizes three levels of complexity:

  • Overview: Program provides a general review of a subject from a broad perspective or drives into basic knowledge on a specific skill or topics. Best suited for CFP​® professionals seeking knowledge in an unfamiliar subject area with entry level experience.
  • Intermediate: Programs build on knowledge that would be covered in an "overview" level program or assumes that working knowledge in the subject to be covered is a prerequisite. Best suited for CFP® professionals who have previous exposure to the subject being covered and at least 3 years of industry experience.
  • Advanced: Programs build upon knowledge that would be covered in an "intermediate" level program or assume that detailed knowledge in the subject to be covered is a prerequisite. Best suited for CFP® professionals with seasoned industry experience who have intermediate knowledge of the subject being covered.

Excluded Topics

Programs must not be specific to public accounting, computer hardware and software, marketing, practice management, sales or specific company or product presentations.

CFP Board defines practice management programs as programs focused on the planning, development, and management of a CFP® professional's business operations, including topics such as office management, business model design, budgeting processes, leadership training, and other activities that do not directly contribute to the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for a CFP® professional to provide competent and ethical financial planning to clients. 

General CE Program Registration

General CE Program Renewal


CFP Board defines Live Programs as those in which the instructor or discussion leader conducts the program in real-time; the instructor and students are engaged in the program at the same time.

  • Attendance is required. For Live Programs presented in-person, the number of participants and physical facilities should be consistent with the teaching method.
  • Live Programs must be conducted by an instructor or discussion leader qualified in the specific subject area(s). The author of a program may be the instructor.


CFP Board defines Self-Study Programs as those in which the instructor and student are not interacting in real time or programs for which the student engages in the learning activity without an instructor.

  • Course materials for the Self-Study Program must be retained and made available to CFP Board upon request for a period of four years following the most recent program completion.
  • CFP® professionals seeking to complete the Self-Study Program must be required to register for the Program and complete the course within one year of purchase.

Self-Study Assessment

Each Self-Study Program will require evidence of satisfactory completion, including an assessment scored by the CE Sponsor. The assessment requirements are as follows:

  • Must contain at least 10 questions per CE credit granted by CFP Board
  • Each question must connect to the program's stated learning objective(s)
  • Questions may not be in a True or False format
  • Questions cannot reference the page number or location of correct answers
  • CFP® professionals must score at least 70% or higher on the examination in order to be considered to have successfully completed the course

Hours Quantification

Sponsors must assign class hours to Self-Study programs using one of two methods for quantifying hours*:

  1. A pilot test of the representative completion time with a minimum of five participants.
  2. Using the following word count formula:
    [(# of words / 180) + actual audio/video duration time] / 50 = CE Credit Hours.

* Exam time may not be included in the average completion time.


CE Sponsors must submit attendance lists to CFP Board using CFP Board's specified Attendance Reporting Form within four weeks of a program's completion. Completed Attendance Reporting Forms must be submitted by email to

Attendance Reporting


Certificates of Completion

CE Sponsors are required to provide Certificates of Completion to individuals who successfully complete programs registered with CFP Board and must include the following as demonstrated in this sample certificate:

  • CE Sponsor name and contact information
  • CFP® professional's name
  • Program name and CFP Board program ID number
  • Number of CE credits accepted by CFP Board
  • Date of completion and program location
  • Signature of sponsor representative

Record Retention

CE Sponsors are also required to maintain records regarding their programs for a period of four years following the date of each program completion and must include:

  • Date and location of program presentation(s)
  • Name(s) of each instructor or discussion leader
  • A list of CFP® professionals who attended a Live program presentation and/or a list of CFP® professionals that have successfully completed a Self-Study program
  • The written outline of the program presentation(s) or Self-Study course materials

All records are subject to audit and review by CFP Board.

CE Quality Assurance Initiative

CFP Board's CE Quality Assurance Initiative was approved by the Board of Directors in November 2013. The first phase of the initiative was launched on January 1, 2015 and resulted in updates to the General CE Program standards. For information regarding the updates, please reference the following resources: 

Webinar: 2015 CE Sponsor Updates

Download a Quick Reference Guide

The full details of the updated requirements have been incorporated into the standards outlined above.


Contact CFP Board's Continuing Education Staff directly at

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Council On Education
CFP Board’s Council on Education advises CFP Board on the development and clarification of all educational policies related to the CFP® certification process.